Monday, June 24, 2013

Stop and Smell the Manure

I had a nice ride Friday where I got to work on moving over, getting on the bit, and getting Spyder over the fear of the folding chair... AHH! When I walked into the ring, he noticed the only thing that changed, and that was a folding chair at the end of the dressage ring. We rode off like it was nothing and did our circles to work on bending getting closer and closer to the scary chair. Eventually. he got over it, and I was happy we worked through it. We got to canter past it, and he was so well behaved that I did one whole jump! Oh, the joys of having a horse that you have to train. He jumped the small vertical like it was 2'3", but he cantered off like it was nothing so we ended the ride with cooling down and riding quietly down the track.

Oh, I almost forgot to point out the reason for the title. On the way out to the ride, Spyder pooped along the track. Pushing and prodding to get him to move (keep walking). He continued to walk as he went to the bathroom which always used to be on the cross ties, but now, I feel like it's a "stop" tactic. He acts like he can't walk and do it at the same time to get out of work (we're working on it). Well, on the way back in to the barn, he kept putting his head lower and lower as we got closer to his pile of manure. He just HAD to stop and smell it. What is he, a dog? This happens fairly often with his own mess. Is it another "I can't walk any further" trick?

Sunday I rode early as it was going to get hotter than it has been. We had to work on excitement for this ride. Spyder didn't want to move or do anything (even though he had eaten breakfast). I did a brain exercise that was walk, trot, halt, trot, halt, trot... just to get him thinking. This made him angry at first because I went from asking to telling with my spurs, but it made his reaction time a lot better working through the pattern. Next, we worked on moving over the hind end. This was so easy! We did a few circles in which he didn't even move his front feet much. We worked on a square which was walk to halt at the corner, then pushing the hind end to continue walking down the next side of the square. This is something we'll move to the trot with, but for now, the walk is going to have to be the speed where we practice because he chose to ignore me a few times. I did try it at the walk (rather than halting at the corner) to push the hind over to turn while moving, but it wasn't all that graceful. We'll get there.

Next step: front movement. At first, Spyder thought that the pressure in front of the girth meant move over the hind end, but he got a few front steps. His hind still moves, and he did back up a few times, but this is where we were when we started the hind end exercise. I worked through it until we got a full circle, but he does still move his hind end a lot. We took breaks with trot circles to get his mind clear in between the frustration of learning something new. To end the ride, I worked on the canter a little and we cooled out for a while. We even got about 10 feet away from the scary chair where he spooked before. Oh, horses.